An intensive academic year of classes in science reporting, writing, and editing
Each student takes a required six-course sequence (fall-winter-spring) in science journalism. Classes meet two days each week. Enrollment in the individual courses is limited to the ten students accepted into the science writing program, creating a warm, collegial atmosphere for our editing workshops.
The sequence introduces students to news, features, essays, investigative reporting, and multimedia. We believe this mixture of traditional and forward-looking courses prepares our students to compete for jobs in an ever-changing journalism industry. Here is our lineup for 2012-13:
Fall quarter: Reporting and writing science news; writing and editing workshop. These courses introduce our former scientists to the foundations of journalism for newspapers, online news sites, and the front sections of magazines. Students cover events, propose and report story ideas, conduct interviews, master AP style, and write in the styles of different science magazines and websites. Our class blog, relying heavily upon social media, features weekly stories from each student. Editing focuses on overall content, structure, tone, and technical level. Many articles appear in regional and national publications, such as the San Jose Mercury News, Mongabay.com, and ScienceNOW.
Lecturers: Erika Check Hayden, Marc DesJardins, Robert Irion, Ken McLaughlin
Winter quarter: Science feature writing; essay and profile writing. Students deepen their journalistic training by conceiving of a novel magazine feature, proposing it in a query letter, and doing original research and field interviews. Features appear in our annual magazine, Science Notes. In the concurrent course, students explore creative and distinctive forms of science writing through personal and observational essays, as well as profiles of researchers. Style comes to the fore as the students develop their voices as writers. Attending the AAAS meeting is part of the winter curriculum; at the 2011 meeting, in Washington, D.C., students interviewed scientists for our annual Q&A publication.
Lecturers: Evelyn Strauss, Robert Irion
Spring quarter: Multimedia reporting and storytelling; investigative and policy reporting. In our web media classes, students go into the field or labs to record the sights and sounds of science in action, augmenting our online magazine with still photography, podcasts, slideshows, and video. We also post student-produced videos on our SciCom Vimeo site. The investigative stories require students to go beyond research news and explore issues of public policy, political influence, societal ethics, and funding. The writers file public records requests and track down sources using database-driven reporting. Our students have published many of the resulting stories in regional and national publications.
Lecturers: Peter Aldhous, Robert Irion, Martha Mendoza, Mary Miller, Lisa Strong
All science-writing courses are open only to graduate students formally accepted into the program. Course descriptions and other information may be found in the General Catalog.